Breaking the Cycle
“Your creative process informs every decision you make, from conceptualizing, problem solving, and networking to trying to decide which emotion to express. Creativity is not the lone province of artistic types with dirty fingernails and picturesque garrets. Rather, the creative process is a lifeblood we all share—a fundamental human skill with millions of applications. It's essential to accomplishing anything in life that's uniquely your own; it is the engine that drives your dreams.”
Suzanne Falter-Barns (How Much Joy Can You Stand?)
I can't tell you how many people have said to me since the election, “I just can't take it. I have to turn off the TV, and get away from all this negativity.” Lots of folks feel split down the middle—afraid not to watch because of what might be done without their knowing, but feeling as though watching, and reading, and talking about the latest outrage is a personal addiction that they need to break.
I've had two days without internet or television due to the cable line being down. I can tell you that the withdrawal process is uncomfortable. At the time when I typically watch the evening news shows, I feel at odds with myself, restless. If a show that I normally watch is beginning its new season, I feel the loss.
But, here's the deal, my creative life has taken off. Those hours of hanging on every word of newscasters, trying to parse them for signs of normalcy and light, have opened up to allowing my imagination to run wild with fabric and paints. Creativity, however it looks in your hands, is one way to break the malaise of post election fear and fragility.
Suzanne Falter-Barns book, How Much Joy Can You Stand, is subtitled, How to Push Past Your Fears and Create Your Dreams. She paints creativity with a wide brush to include almost every choice we make in our lives. People tell me, “I don't have a creative bone in my body,” to which I reply, “Then you must be dead and don't know it.” Creativity comes with the province of being human. We cannot NOT be creative—it's in our DNA. Whether it has to do with arranging the hours of your day, or choosing the paint for your bedroom, you are exercising creativity. Grocery shopping, brainstorming ideas in a business meeting, choosing what goes into your gym bag, arranging the contents of your pantry—all require creativity. So, we all have it.
What I've found for myself is that creativity is a great way to break the cycle of news-addiction. You don't have to set out to create your dreams if that feels overwhelming to you. You could just clean out a closet, or rearrange items on your book shelves. Any activity that requires a little bit of planning, some concentration and problem solving, and produces a lot of satisfaction when it's finished, is a creative endeavor. And that feeling of completion gives you a little joy-bump. How much of that can you stand?
In the Spirit,